Taking charge of thoughts

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Some kids I know used to play a knock-knock game when they were little. To play it, you get something that you pretend is a door. A book maybe. This is supposed to be the door to your mind.

Then someone says, "Knock, knock," and you say, "Who is it?" A voice says, "I like being friendly." Or maybe, "I don't want to hang around with you." And you have to decide to open the door and let in the thought, or keep the door shut and keep the thought out.

The way to decide is to think about God. If the thought is a good one, it is from God, and you open the door and let it come in. If the thought is dishonest or selfish or hurts someone, you know it isn't from God and you don't want to let it in your mind. So you keep the door shut.

Even if you're too old to play that game now, it's still important to watch what's getting in the door of your thinking. Because what we're thinking gets into our life. Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," said to "hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts" (pg. 261).

Thoughts and ideas are all around us. The images on TV, the words to songs on the radio, the things kids talk about at school. Actually, God is sending us thoughts all the time, too. Which ideas do you want to let in?

Good thoughts, thoughts from God - like kindness, honesty, confidence - act like armor. They're strong and protect you from anything bad. Good thoughts are also like a magnet. They attract other good things to you. Most kids want to be part of what's good, and so they want to be with you.

But there are other thoughts, too. Thoughts of selfishness, fear, and hatred. Do you want these inside you? Science and Health talks about bad thoughts being like "wandering pollen" (pg. 235). Pollen is really fine dust from plants that's in the air. Like pollen, bad thoughts can land in your thinking almost without your noticing it.

So we need to be alert to watch our thoughts. In sports, some people say, the best defense is a good offense. Your best defense against bad thoughts is good thoughts. The bad stuff can't get in and grow if you're thinking about good - there's just not room.

A friend told me something that happened to her that was like wandering pollen. She was singing in a church service. It was crowded and hot. A thought came to her: "I'm going to pass out." (That sure wasn't from God, because it wasn't good!) My friend instantly thought, "NO," because she knew God loved her, and that she was always protected by God. She didn't need to take in that idea of fainting. Then she felt OK.

Right then the person in front of her fainted! Later my friend said she learned two things from this experience. First, she learned she could be alert to thoughts coming to her. She could instantly reject anything that was not from God. And second, she learned that it's important to remember that everyone is included in God's love and protection. (The person who fainted was fine, not hurt at all.)

You don't need to be afraid of bad thoughts. The Bible says that God gives us "dominion." That means we have the ability to be in control of our thoughts. It's something we can do, and God is helping us do it by constantly sending us the strong, good thoughts we want.

God's thoughts always show us how to be good. They tell us we're loved, worthy, and capable. That we're always with God and so we're safe. That She knows what we need and will always take care of us. That He will show us what to do and what to think. That God will give us everything good and make us happy.

Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8 Contemporary English Version

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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